Interesting Facts About the Union Budget

Interesting Union Budget Facts (1)
Interesting Union Budget Facts

by 5paisa Research Team Last Updated: Jan 23, 2023 - 12:05 pm 5.5k Views
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There are some amazing facts about the Union Budget that is presented each year by the finance minister on the floor of the house. For instance, did you know that the first Union Budget in India was presented by the East India Company to the British Crown in the year 1860? More interestingly, the word Budget is derived from the French word “Bougette”, which literally translates into a small bag or a pouch. Here we compile some very interesting facts about the union budget over the years. Read on and enjoy this journey through the history and facts about the union budget presentation in India.

Sixteen Interesting facts about Union Budgets in India

  1. The first Union Budget was presented in the year 1860 by the Scottish Economist and politician, James Wilson. The first Union Budget of independent India was presented by the first finance minister of free India, RK Shanmugam Chetty on 26th November 1947, exactly 2 years before Constitution Day.

  2. Who was the man who introduced the concept of Union Budget in independent India? The credit goes to one of India’s most well-known statisticians, PC Mahalnobis. He was closely involved with the preparation and tabulation of the first Union Budget. The planning commission and the five year plans were also the brainchild of PC Mahalnobis.

  3. Did you know that the Union Budgets were originally presented in the evening at 5 pm so that the details could be also presented to the British Parliament. Ironically, this practice continued till 1998, a full 51 years after independence. From the 1999 Union Budget, the FM presented it at 11 am in the morning on 28th February. From the year 2017, the date of the presentation of the Union budget was shifted to 01st February and that practice continues. Till 2016, the railway budget was presented separately 2 days prior to the Union Budget. From 2016, railway budget was merged into Union Budget.

  4. The Union Budget of 1950 was the first budget to have been leaked. At that time, the budget was printed at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Eventually, in 1980, the printing of the budget was shifted to the government press in North Block. Budget 2021-22 was the first year when there was no printing of the Union Budget and it was entirely an electronic Union Budget.

  5. There is a popular ceremony called the Halwa ceremony where the sweet delicacy is prepared before the printing of the Union Budget starts. Once the budget printing starts and till the Budget day, all the key members of the Budget team have to only stay at North Block and are cut off from outside communications to ensure secrecy in the Union Budget document.

  6. Did you know who presented the maximum number of Union Budgets. Morarji Desai, who was also the prime minister under the Janata government from 1977 to 1979, holds the record of presenting a total of 10 budgets when he was still a member of the Congress party. He is followed by P Chidambaram who has presented a total of 9 budgets and Pranab Mukherjee and Yashwant Sinha who presented 8 budgets each.

  7. People tend to erroneously believe that Nirmala Sitharaman was the first lady to present the Union Budget in independent India. However, that distinction is held by Indira Gandhi. Ms Sitharaman is the second women to present the Union Budget.

  8. The Union Budget is presented on the floor of the house by the Finance Minister. But, did you know that on 3 occasions the prime minister presented the budget. The first was in 1958 when Pandit Nehru presented the budget following the resignation of TT Krishnamachari over the Mundhra scam. Then in 1970, Indira Gandhi presented the Union Budget after the finance minister, Morarji Desai had resigned. Much later in 1987, prime minster Rajiv Gandhi presented the budget since the finance minister, VP Singh had already resigned.

  9. A quick word on the longest and shortest budgets in the history of independent India. In 1991, the dream budget which opened up the Indian economy, contained 18,650 words. Dr Manmohan Singh appears to be a rapid speaker, since the distinct for the longest budget speech is held by Nirmala Sitharaman in the 2020 Union budget, where she spoke continuously for 2 hours and 42 minutes. The shortest Union Budget of just 800 words was presented by HM Patel while presenting the 1977 Union Budget.

  10. Till the year 1955, the Union Budget was only printed in the English language For the first time in the 1955-56 Union Budget, then finance Minister CD Deshmukh got the Union Budget document printed in English and also in Hindi. That practice continues to this date.

  11. What exactly was the Black Budget? The Black Budget was presented in the year 1973 for the financial year 1973-74, by finance minister Y B Chavan. The budget was called Black Budget since the Budget deficit (fiscal deficit) at Rs550 crore was the highest ever till that date. This was to compensate for the cost of the 1971 Bangladesh war, the oil crisis created by the Arab embargo and a weak monsoon.

  12. Which were the most path breaking budgets in Indian budget history? The most famous is the Epochal Budget of 1991 presented by Dr. Manmohan Singh. It liberalized India, allowed foreign competition, encourage foreign investments, cut indirect taxes and virtually dismantled the license and quota Raj. The 1997 Union Budget presented by P Chidambaram is called the Dream Budget for its massive efforts in lowering the slabs of personal and corporate taxes. Finally, the Millennial Budget presented by Yashwant Sinha in the year 2000, opened up the IT sector to global competition and virtually revolutionised the entire IT sector.

  13. Today goods and services tax (GST) is part of common parlance. While the GST was implemented in India effective from July 2017, the GST Bill was introduced by the then finance minister, P Chidambaram, in the year 2006 itself. It is only after the demonetization process in late 2016 that the GST was made effective.

  14. Did you know the team behind the budget preparation. The primary responsibility of drafting the Union Budget lies with the Department of the Economic Affairs, which is affiliated to the Ministry of Finance. The final Budget is put together by experts of the Ministry of Finance, the expenditure ministries and NITI Aayog (the new name for Panning Commission. Before the final budget is presented, several stakeholders are involved in the process and these include the Department of Expenditure, Union Ministries and other stakeholders including economists, farmers, FPIs etc.

  15. The budget is presented each year in February. However, in the case of general election years, the government presents an interim budget or vote on account to seek approval and sanction for expenditure to keep the government organization functioning. In these election years, the final budget is presented once again in June after the election results are out in late May. That is why there are 2 budgets presented in general election years.

  16. The only finance minister in India to have not presented a Union Budget is Kshitish Chandra Neogy (KC Neogy), the second finance minister of independent India. He was finance minister for just 35 days, after which he resigned from the Congress party along with Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.

As India goes into Budget 2023-24, these snippets should keep you entertained and also enlightened.

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